Cambridge-based solar manufacturer Viridian Solar has unveiled its new ‘Pod’ solar heating concept at Ecobuild.

The Pod is a thermal heat store which is capable of being heated either by solar thermal or solar photovoltaic energy. Stuart Elmes, CEO of Viridian Solar explained why the company designed the Pod, he said: “The main challenge with retrofit solar thermal isn’t fitting the panels on the roof – it’s the interface with the existing heating system. The Pod changes all that. We reckon we’ve simplified solar heating to the point where it’s as easy to install as solar PV.”

The product works by rapidly pre-heating cold water on demand as it flows through the unit before it enters the existing heating system. Viridian claims that once the Pod is connected to the solar panels all that is required is to interrupt the cold water feed to either a hot water cylinder or a combi-boiler.

The solar thermal iteration of the product boasts an integrated solar controller and pump station, allowing the installer to simply connect pipes and plugs. The PV version has a 3kW immersion heater built-in which the company claims is better than using the immersion in an existing cylinder as the solar is not in competition with the boiler and also allows PV water heating in the 50% of homes that have a combi-boiler.

The Pod is being exhibited at Stand S2240 at Ecobuild from 4-6 March.  Shipments will start from 1 May 2014.